6 Reasons I Am Grateful For the Salvation Army

My family at a Salvation Army.  I'm the little girl on the far right...

My family at a Salvation Army. I’m the little girl on the far right…

Today is the Salvation Army’s 150th Birthday. The world is a much better place for the inception of this amazing organization. My world is a better place because of them. In fact, I just cannot stay silent on this day of celebration. So here are 6 reasons that I am grateful for on this Founder’s Day.

  • Sound Biblical Teaching: The Salvation Army is a not only an international movement, but a church. As a girl growing up in a second-generation Army household I remember how quizzical faces became when I told them that I attended the Salvation Army for church services. My paternal grandparents were Salvation Army officers as well as most of my father’s siblings. At one time, the Dalberg family was quite a name to drop in the American SA. So it was natural that we attended the Army for our weekly church services. I am grateful for the foundational and scriptural teaching I received as a Junior Soldier.
  • Family Heritage: I cannot think of a finer legacy than that of “Heart to God, Hand to Man”, and even though I no longer attend the Salvation Army as my local church I have always had a tender spot in my heart for serving others. In fact, I am now the Executive Director of a Christian non-profit Love INC. I know that this is due to the heritage that the Salvation Army has instilled in my life. I am eternally grateful.
  • Radical Love: The Army truly does love the unloved. You know…the ones no one else wants in their church; the homeless, the dirty, the slightly insane, the man or is he a woman, or is he a man? I’ll never forget one of the first Salvation Army church services I brought my children to when they were still elementary students. Scripture was read by a bearded woman…a fully-bearded woman and special music was done by a woman playing the accordion while on oxygen. Not to mention there were several outbursts by an intoxicated man. My daughter whispered to me, “This is better than the circus!” I was mortified by her comment. But this is their calling, my beloved Salvation Army. One of their songs boldly proclaims, “Oh to love the unloved, in the service of the Lord!” They love people right where they are…and many times those same people learn to live better, godlier and more productive lives. Some of them even enter the ministry. I’ve never seen a better record of truly transformed lives. Love changes everything.
  • Patience: There have been seasons in my lifetime when I have been more than a little concerned about the direction of my beloved Army. I have feared that like many other charities that they might lose their spiritual roots, but every time God has raised up His standard and the Army has remained faithful to His call. I pray that they will continue to seek wisdom on how to continue this vital ministry in a mixed up and crazy world. But through it all I have learned to give organizations time to correct and autocorrect and to respond to obstacles. This Army is the Lord’s and He is well able to take care of it.
  • Love of Others Before Love of Self: I am thankful that as a Junior Soldier I was asked to sign a commitment never to drink alcohol. I am not sure if this continues to be a practice, but this commitment had a profound affect on my life. It was a commitment I took very seriously. And the reason for this commitment was not because the Bible says not to drink. It was for the sake of the weaker brother and sister, for the many who come to the Salvation Army for help. It was for the love of others. Even as an adult, when my first marriage fell apart and I was a single mom confused and alone, I remember having a fleeting thought that maybe I should try drowning my pain in a bottle of wine. But then I remembered a piece of paper that I had signed as a 10 year old and I ran instead to the Throne Room and into the arms of my Savior. He was able to handle my pain better than any bottle of wine.
  • Refuge: Recently I have had a family member use the Army’s services due to mental illness. The family didn’t know what to do. The local church didn’t know what to do. Quite honestly, government programs didn’t have any answers. But my beautiful Army they embraced him. They loved the one that no one had any answers for and he is on his way to recovery. It was too difficult for family to fight alone. The Body of Christ needed help caring for this member. When there was no government program; When caring for the loved one was destroying family; When the Body of Christ was weary and weak, that’s when the Army became a place of refuge. This is my Army, and I am forever grateful.

All For His Glory

This was written five years ago…I am full time now, and still loving my position at Love INC. 


My whole life I wanted to be in the full-time ministry.  I was raised in the Salvation Army as a child, so I wanted to be a Salvation Army officer and to show the poor, the afflicted and the hurting the love of Christ in a practical way, so that they might come to know Him.  In my teen years, my family and I were attending a Pentacostal church, and I dreamed of being the next Aimee Semple McPhereson, and laying my hands on the sick and seeing them recover.  As a young married woman I wondered if my ministry would be to wives and mothers.  Then I became heavily involved in small groups at church.  I led three of them and trained new workers.  Finally, I found myself serving with the children’s ministry, writing curriculum and developing young leaders.

What I failed to realize is that in each stage of life I was already in full time ministry, because my desire was to be a handmaiden of the Lord and minister to Him wherever His hand led me. I rang Christmas bells for the Salvation Army, and served the homeless dinner.  I played the piano on the worship team, and was the secretary at my church.  I sought do the will of God in my life as a wife and mother.. this was all ministry….and I was okay with that.  My lightening quick mind realized that this is what God has for every believer…to be so saturated with Him that we leak out all over.

But all of this changed a few months ago.  Remember when I wrote this post about being lost about my future?  And then this post about being on an elevator ? A few months ago I decided to apply for the Executive Director position with Love INC of Tinley Park.  Love INC is a non-profit organization that brings the local church together in order to meet the needs of a community.  I have no college or business experience, and I haven’t worked for 12 years.  I’m just a typical home school mom who finds her nest empty for the first time. I was certain that my future included leisurely walks, writing novels and sipping tea from antique tea cups.

The process was long and arduous.  I had two interviews, which was nerve wrecking in itself because I’ve never had an interview before in my life.  I was always hired on the spot, so to say.  It humbles me to announce that I have been honored with the position of  the Executive Director of Love INC of Tinley Park, Illinois.  I am ensured that the position is part-time at the moment, but I am still unsure where that leaves me for writing and for blogging.  I definitely won’t be around as often to read and comment.  Will you pray for me as I take on this new endeavor?  It is evident to me that the hand of God has been on my life to prepare me for this position. I know that He is faithful, and that He doesn’t give us a task without equipping us to do it.  But would you pray that I will put the writing part of my life willingly on the altar and be blessed with whatever I am left with?

I will remain  confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord!  All for His glory.

Beholding Glory

On In Around button

…sharing a playdate with Laura:


On One Of My Heroes of the Faith – William Booth

“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end!” And these are the words I grew up with. They were spoken by William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army.

My grandparents were Salvation Army ministers, and my parents were entrenched in the fight for racial equality in a very racially tense Chicago at a Salvation Army youth mission. Even as a young girl,…

Won’t you please join for me for the rest of this piece at Anita Mathias’ lovely spot Dreaming Beneath The Spires?

My Salvation Army Heritage

Salvation Army worker
There’s nothing more “Christmasy” than hearing a Salvation Army bell ringer. I wonder if you’ll take a look at my past with me? A stroll down memory lane if you will…

I had the most beautiful upbringing in the whole world. Part of this heritage includes a family with its roots entrenched in the Salvation Army. My father, the eldest son of Salvation Army officers started his young family where his foundation lay…at the SA. My mother had her life changed when at 15, after a Billy Graham crusade, she filled out her followup paper work with SA for Saint Ann’s Catholic Church, and the Salvation Army showed up at her door. I have a plethora of family members that has served as officers of the Army and are now retired. As someone who has had the pleasure of watching their lives from the inside, let me tell you, they do the most good.


My own spiritual formation took a turn when I was 14. An uncle from my mother’s side started a non-denominational church and we began attending there. However, there have been key moments in my life when I have found myself right back where I started…at the Army. Two times stand out in particular. Once was the… Please click here to read the rest of my story…

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Body Parts

I’ll never forget the day that the children and I were passing by the local Baptist church, and one of my children asked me, “Now, what weird things do they believe?”

How could this be my child?  I wondered.  I had, on purpose, signed my kids up for things from different denominations and had repeatedly explained to them how each group has a special part to play in the  Body of Christ.  I encouraged them always to focus on our likenesses, rather than on our differences.  In addition to the many projects they had in our own wonderful non-denominational church, I enrolled them in a Reformed home school group, had them serve meals at the Salvation Army, went to plays and special events at the same local Baptist Church and still they had taken on an, “us four and no more” attitude.

I suppose their response was somewhat normal for someone who has been born and grown up in the same non-denominational church their whole life.  But I had taught them differently, and I expected more of them and from them.

After I picked my jaw up off the floorboard of the car, I answered in the most controlled voice that I could muster that if it weren’t for the Baptists that I wasn’t sure any of us would be Christians at the moment, because one of the Baptist church’s main emphases is evangelism and discipleship.  I also reminded them how thankful we can be that the Baptists have held to the high standard of doctrine in their lives.

It was silent in the car for awhile.  I suppose I was a little fiery in my delivery, but the said child had touched a nerve.

When I consider each denomination I see groups of people who have been given different assignments from God.  Episcopalians have been given a literary assignment bringing forth great authors and theologians like C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle.  Catholics have been given an assignment to remind us of the mystery that is Christ.  Baptists have been given an assignment to go out and to preach the Gospel to everyone.  The Salvation Army has been given the assignment to love the unloved, and to reach out a hand to man and heart to God.  Methodists have been assigned to teach us a methodology by which we can better serve God.  Pentacostals and  Charismatics have been given the assignment to experience God physically and emotionally through signs and wonders.

Do I believe that every believer should experience a portion of each of these strengths?  Absolutely!  But no one could focus on all of them at once.  And thus we have our differences.

The icon becomes idol when any one part of the body wants the rest of the Body to be just like it…How odd it would be if the Body were all knees or teeth! Madeleine L’Engle

Why not celebrate our differences?  After all we would be ineffective without one another, and we’d look pretty ridiculous if all we were is a bunch of teeth.

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  I Corinthians 12:12